Yamaha clinched the Manufacturer’s Title at the 2016 Women’s Motocross World Championship on Sunday with a 1-2 podium finish for Courtney Duncan and Nancy van de Ven in the Netherlands on deep and wet sands at the Assen TT Circuit. New Zealander Duncan won the dry and slippery first moto on Saturday, and after heavy rainstorms over night and immediately prior to Sunday’s second moto, van de Ven went on to win in front of a home crowd in the final race of the 2016 season.
Duncan missed a portion of the 2016 season after a thumb injury in Germany, and sat out two of seven WMX rounds following surgery at home in New Zealand. The 20-year old won nine motos and three GPs in her rookie year riding a YZ250F for Altherm JCR Yamaha, and on Saturday in Assen stamped her authority on the race with smooth lines and lap times at 1:46 to finish with a 35-second lead over second-place finisher Kiara Fontanesi of Italy.
Organizers brought in tons of fine sand to build the 1,500-meter motocross circuit on top of the asphalt MotoGP track at Assen, and riders in all categories praised the conditions through Saturday. Heavy thunderstorms late on Saturday night drained successfully, but even heavier cloudbursts over a half-hour period on Sunday morning left standing pools of water and extremely wet conditions as racing began in five categories, including the final WMX race of 2016.
Duncan and van de Ven rose to the challenge, each finding lines carefully in the soupy ruts. Lap times rose dramatically however, as sands began to absorb the rain and traction shifted underneath the race. In the second moto Duncan’s fastest lap came at 2:23, and at the end van de Ven’s average speed of 34.43km/h was markedly slower than Duncan’s winning 46.40km/h on Saturday.
On Sunday van de Ven passed Duncan in the final laps to win the wet, sloppy moto, and tens of thousands of Dutch and international motocross fans rose to their feet in support as she crossed the line in triumph. On Saturday the Dutchwoman’s fifth place was not enough to overcome her points gap to first in the 2016 WMX Championship, but in her final race she found victory and relief.
Duncan won the overall at Assen with a second-place on Sunday, and finished the 2016 WMX Championship fifth overall, 18 points back from Fontanesi in fourth. Van de Ven clinched second with a 58-point lead over Germany’s Larissa Papenmeier, and a 24-point deficit to France’s Livia Lancelot.
Yamaha won the Manufacturer’s Title in the 2016 WMX Championship with a combined total of 323 points, 21 points clear of second-place Kawasaki and 65 points ahead of third place Honda.